As 12-year-old Timothy (Matthew Knight) prepares to turn 13, he’s blissfully unaware that he’s a half blood slated to transform — and that his extended family of good-hearted werewolves has been protecting him since the day he was born. Elsewhere, lurking in the shadows, an evil pack of werewolves (led by Jason Behr) has been waiting for more than a decade to pounce on him and claim him as its own.
“Beware the werewolf with no bark or bite, for he is just there to rip you off.” – Me
Timothy is a special boy, but he doesn’t know it. He lives with his blissfully ignorant mother in the town of Huguenot, surrounded by very helpful, and very caring townsfolk. But how special is Timmy? Well, on his thirteenth birthday (oh yes) at the stroke of midnight (no better time) he has the power to end the werewolf (or Skinwalker) curse that has plagued so many over the years.
Unfortunately not every werewolf sees their condition as a curse, nor do they want it to come to an end. So we’re split into two groups. The Protectors of Timmy, our good guys, are the first. These werewolf vegetarians have known this day would come, and are going to do what needs to be done to see that the curse is lifted. They see the thirst for human blood as an addiction, and they’ve kicked the habit. Led by Timothy’s Uncle Jonas (Elias Koteas), the ragtag group sets out to hide Timmy, and last until birthday time. Then there’s our bike riding bad guys. They wear leather, have long hair, munch on whomever the hell they feel like, and have a lot of guns. They’re led by Varek (Jason
Behr) who has the most guns, wears the most leather, and has the longest hair.*
Hey, it’s not a bad start. Werewolf movies have been getting back into the mix, Lionsgate has been fumbling….here’s where two worlds are going to collide for the ultimate ride and bring home a winner. A thrilling, non-stop action werewolf vehicle!
Except Skinwalkers bites. Badly. There’s really no reason to put it any other way.
The movie plays out like a lesser Tales From the Darkside episode, and from the second it starts the viewers are engaged in their own uphill battle of trying to sit through this thing. I searched for a group of my own to have rally around me and protect my eyes.
While Skinwalkers is a predominantly Canadian-produced film, this thing sports cheese from all walks of life. From the extremely shaky camera work (I felt like I was riding a pony on steroids) in the opening sequence to the terrifically unexciting shootout on Main Street USA, to the dreadful, yet fitting ending, it’s no holds barred. The score doesn’t let down either, as there is a fine lame accompaniment throughout.
The movie struggles to be several things and winds up being nothing. And while I know it’s sort of the trend to do these days, I didn’t show up at a werewolf feature to watch them shoot at each other, in human form, for the majority of it. In the instances you do get werewolves, you’ll wish you hadn’t. Perhaps the F/X department should have been sat down and marathoned through films from 27 years ago, such as An American Werewolf in London and The Howling. Or Dog Soldiers, which you could make 10 of from the Skinwalkers budget. That they’re being outdone by Teen Wolf 2 is cause for retirement.
For the most part when they’re onscreen, the wolfies remain in darkness, and the reason for this may be because the entire lot look like low rent, hairy versions of Pan from Pan’s Labyrinth. Except for the woman. She looks exactly like him.
For the gorehounds out there, this PG-13 Hail Mary from Lionsgate will not deliver, so don’t bark up this tree.
The performances are clunkers all around. Timmy’s mom, played by Rhona Mitra, makes viewing difficult as she attempts to become the poor man’s Sarah Connor. Behr’s Varek succeeds in being the absolute most boring werewolf-biker-leading-a-hunt-for-the-survival-of-his-kind ever. I expected more from Koteas as the good-natured uncle; he’s better than this. The rest of the cast is fleshed out by a bunch of people making happy and sad faces.
Aside from the slightly interesting (yet quite muddled) almost-story, it’s been done before- and much better. Track those films down and put this one out of it’s misery.
* They’re actually led by a bird with mystical powers, whose most important power is the ability to find lil Timmy wherever he may be. As there isn’t a whisper of what the hell is going on with said bird, so we’ll just say this other guy is the “leader.”